Strategico’s Strata of Customer Value©
Differentiate From Competitors
Differentiation is the core of marketing strategy, or positioning. Unfortunately, many organizations believe, or want to believe, that they are positively differentiated from competitors on every attribute…non-measurable perceptions that are not often the case. Creating sustainable, differentiated customer value is determined by competitive offerings. Being differentiated by (lower) price alone is almost guaranteed to result in price competition, decreased margins and less satisfied customers, which do not serve any organization well.
Direct and Indirect Channels
Efficiently and effectively reaching an organization’s targeted customers is frequently not possible by using a single channel, More often now, designing an intelligent combination of direct (internal) and indirect (external) distribution channels provides different customers, different functionality and value. Universal, easy access to the Internet has in no-way nullified the need for positive customer relationship building. In fact, availability of more and more complex channels, has confused many customers, generated strong channel conflict and increased the need to build effective direct channels(sales) that can be used to qualify leads.
The reality created by more intense competition, local and offshore, coupled with the multiplicity and constant expansion of indirect channels, forces organizations to seek ways to add customer value through promotion of “whole” solutions. Traditionally, solutions were presented as only the tangible product or service that was described by its features and benefits. Fortunately, customer-focused organizations can now differentiate themselves from competitors, reduce the channel conflict created by more intense competition, and deliver stronger value, by defining their offerings as bundles of value-added services (requirement assessment, help-desks, configuration, installation, training, warehousing, warranty, delivery, on or off-site repair, end-of-life disposition, etc) that are difficult, if not impossible, to be compared to competitive offerings.
Adding costs and complexity of whole solutions can only be considered by understanding customer needs, business pain, competitive offerings as well as the willingness of clients to pay for the value received.
Segment and Select Target
A positioning (or marketing) strategy that sounds like “anything for money” is likely unsustainable or defensible. Segmentation and target selection must be applied by professional marketers based upon solid market research, value proposition development, testing and validation, competitive analysis and profitability and costing as critical elements of positioning.